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Head of Royal Navy orders investigation into ‘abhorrent’ allegations

The head of the Royal Navy has ordered an investigation into “abhorrent” allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the submarine service.

Admiral Sir Ben Key, the First Sea Lord, said sexual assault and harassment has no place in the Royal Navy, adding that anyone who is found culpable will be held accountable regardless of rank.

The Chief of the Naval Staff responded to the allegations personally on Twitter.

He said: “I am deeply disturbed to hear of allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the submarine service and I want to reassure our people, and anyone who is reading this, that any activity which falls short of the highest of standards the Royal Navy sets itself is totally unacceptable and not a true reflection of what service life should be.

“These allegations are abhorrent.

“Sexual assault and harassment has no place in the Royal Navy and will not be tolerated.

“I have directed my senior team to investigate these allegations thoroughly.

“Anyone who is found culpable will be held accountable for their actions regardless of their rank or status,” he said.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) says that, while most Royal Navy personnel enjoy rewarding careers, for some, predominantly women, their experience has been affected by inappropriate sexualised behaviour.

They say they accept that more needs to be done and that they are improving reporting mechanisms for sexual offences.

Earlier this year, the MoD announced a zero-tolerance policy to sexual offences aligning the Royal Navy, RAF, and Army under one approach to dealing with incidences with the aim of enabling services to better support victims and secure justice for them.